The large statue of Rihanna on display at the Berlin Biennale was actually inspired by conquistador art, reports Remezcla. The piece titled Ewaipanoma, was created by Colombian artist Juan Sebastián Peláez, and features the bad gyal’s well-known physique clad in a bikini with her face plastered on her chest; an empty space is seen where her head should be.
Rih’s likeness was inspired by Acéfalo, “headless monsters” said to have lived across the Americas and in the Caribbean and were seen with their faces on their chests. However, they were used by European explorers to create fear in other indigenous populations in order to assert their dominance.
“By putting a face in someone’s chest, you are saying that he has no rationality, that he is a beast,” said Peláez of the Acéfalo. “They are not like ‘us,’ so we can do whatever we want with them. So Columbus travelled to America and discovered a bunch of chauffeurs. It’s like animals. Animals have no ‘neck’ that clearly separates their logic from their body. This is an image and an idea that’s been used for hundreds of years.” The reasoning behind using a celebrity to portray this old form of art is to depict the “propaganda, advertisement, the creation of an image to reinforce power.”
He has also made Ewaipanoma art of present-day stars like fútbol player Radamel Falcao and Jennifer Lopez. The Ewaipanoma art of Rihanna can be seen until Sept. 18.